Five Nebraska Youth Corn Challenge Teams Honored

First-place was awarded to Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club of Dodge County.

Published on: Feb 21, 2014

In its second year, the Innovative Corn Challenge had 11 teams, five of which successfully completed their corn challenge plots. Winners of the 2013 Corn Challenge were announced recently.

The project involves 4-H or FFA members, who are challenged to produce the most economical, highest yielding corn. The team with the highest percent yield increase over their local county average is eligible for cash awards to enhance their 4-H or FFA plant science or leadership based programs.

The winning teams: First place--Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club of Dodge County, receiving $1,000; second place team, earning $500, the Pioneers 4-H Club of Madison County; and the third-place team, earning $250, Amherst FFA.

Attending the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge banquet recently at UNLs East Campus were, from left, David Bruntz, Nebraska Corn Board; members of the Pioneers 4-H club, Shickley FFA, Kornhusker Kids 4-H club; and Chuck Hibberd, UNL Extension director.
Attending the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge banquet recently at UNL's East Campus were, from left, David Bruntz, Nebraska Corn Board; members of the Pioneers 4-H club, Shickley FFA, Kornhusker Kids 4-H club; and Chuck Hibberd, UNL Extension director.

Both irrigated and dryland fields are eligible in the project.

Awards also are given to the team who has completed excellent production and economic records and an innovation award. The data completion award was awarded the Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club--Kaleb Hasenkamp, Matthew Rolf and Payton Schiller for its excellent record-keeping. New this year was the Limited Resource Award, which also went to the Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club. The award is given to the team that grew the most efficient crop based on water use.

The Innovation Award was given to the team with the most innovative challenge plot and thorough explanation why it was innovative. Receiving the award was the Pioneers 4-H Club, which included Kaylyn Kucera, Sidney Kucera and Andy Zessin.

The Innovative Corn Challenge is designed to encourage youth to pursue an agricultural career and return to rural Nebraska. This program is implemented through UNL Extension with financial assistance from the Nebraska Corn Board. Extension faculty, agriculture education instructors and crop consultants serve as harvest supervisors and assist with data collection.

Each team received $50 for their efforts and a copy of the Hybrid Maize CD, a computer program that simulates the growth of a corn crop under non-limiting or water-limited conditions based on daily weather data. 

The participants and their sponsors were:

•The Amherst FFA team of Maranda and Marissa Kegley, with Brent Nollette as their supervisor. The team tested fungicide use and found that the fungicide showed a 2.12 bushel per-acre yield advantage.

•The Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club included Kaleb Hasenkamp, Matthew Rolf and Payton Schiller with their plot located in Dodge County.  They determined the effect of a fungicide application at different plant growth stages. Their control was no fungicide application with two treatments, one at planting in-furrow with starter fertilizer and the second applied at the V-7 stage. They also randomized and replicated their plot with five replications. During the growing season, they did not observe any real differences. The control plot had the highest yield at 221 bushels per acre. Next highest yielding treatment was the foliar application at 220.7 bushels per acre and the in-furrow treatment yield was 219.98 bushels per acre. Their project sponsor was Chris Schiller.

•The Lakeview FFA Chapter consisted of Tim Kummer and Sam Morse. They managed a dryland field and tested nitrogen rates. Cole Blomendahl was their sponsor.

•The Pioneers 4-H Club from Madison County consisted of Kaylyn Kucera, Sidney Kucera and Andy Zessin. They tested a microbial growth regulator, "Generate." Their plot did prove that by adding Generate at planting, it increased yield by 1.25 bushels per acre compared to the untreated seed. When they figured the cost of production, the bushels needed to break even when using Generate was 2.9 bushels per acre when corn is worth $4.25. Their sponsor was Regan Kucera.

•The Shickley FFA Chapter included Blake Stengel, Nathan Hendrickson, Crayton Mosier and Ben Row. They tested pivot irrigation vs. drip irrigation.

•Overall project coordinators were Extension educators Brandy VanDeWalle, Aaron Nygren and Amy Timmerman.

The Innovative Youth Corn Challenge will be held again this year. Entry forms to participate in this program are available at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth and are due March 15. For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or 402-759-3712.